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Despite attempts by media outlets and politicians to create mass hysteria and fear regarding the “flood of dangerous Syrian refugees” headed our way, I remain calm.  Mainly I am calm because I understand (at least in general terms) the vetting process that refugees must undergo before they ever set foot in the U.S.  I also understand that this is a slow trickle, not an unmanageable flood of refugees.  I am also comforted by the history of U.S. refugee resettlement, and that while no systems of checks is 100 percent perfect, that history shows that our system is exceptional at weeding out threats.  In fact, off the top of my head, I can think of seven things that scare me more than Syrian refugees.
  1.       Hamburger Helper Hand.  I still have nightmares about that little bastard even as an adult.  Seriously, the thing can be hiding anywhere and jump out and grab you at any second.  When I had to use the bathroom at night when I was younger, I would jump from the second bunk and hit the ground running so he couldn’t grab my leg.  He could be under your bed or desk just waiting to grab your leg, or even worse, he could be hiding behind the toilet just waiting for the right moment to pounce.
  2.      Heights.  I don’t think I’m alone in this one.  Few things make me immediately nauseous and dizzy like being more than ten feet off of the ground.  Ziplines, glass elevators, the swing rides at fairs, and ski lifts all suck.
  3.      Compressed Air.  I don’t know if I have suppressed memories of balloons or bike tires exploding in my face when I was little or what, but I feel my blood pressure rise every time I have to inflate a tire, balloon or ball. 
  4.      Electricity.  I guess this has more to do with electrical wires.  I didn’t always have this particular fear, but I have had trouble forgetting a shock I received while trying to fix an outlet in an apartment I lived in.  Ever since then, even if you show me you turned off the breaker, I will still get shaky if I have to start manipulating wires.
  5.      Bus Without a Bathroom.  This fear goes back to elementary school.  I was mortified when, in front of everyone, I had to ask a bus driver to stop somewhere so I could pee while on a fieldtrip.  Ever since then, if I step foot on bus to go somewhere with a group of people and don’t see a bathroom, I’m in trouble.  Chaperoning my kids on their fieldtrips brings back a rush of memories and fear.  This fear was later reinforced when I had bad falafel when driving across Israel on a bus with no bathroom, and had to force the driver to make an emergency stop in a particularly dangerous spot in the West Bank.
  6.      Flying.  I don’t care how many times people try to explain the physics of flight, or how turbulence is just like driving down a bumpy road in a car, I will never understand or be comfortable with a huge heavy airplane floating above the earth at hundreds of miles per hour.  It does not make sense!
  7.      Floating Band Aids at Swimming Pools.  What was the band aid covering?  Was it a small blister or paper cut, or was it a herpes sore or a chicken pox scab?  Did it float close to my mouth?  I’m breaking out in cold sweats just thinking about this.
There is a lot of good information out there on the refugee resettlement process and the history of refugee resettlement in the U.S.  Political talking points are designed to draw attention, often by fear or outrage.  Throughout the debate I hope that we can make sure we get the facts from all sides before coming to our own conclusions.  Here are two articles that I recommend.  CATO and WAPO We may not come to the same conclusions on every point, but at least we will be informed in coming to our own conclusions.  

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Dustin Baxter


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